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Agencies Expediting Well Drilling Licensing During California Drought

SACRAMENTO — California continues to face water shortfalls during this driest year in recorded state history. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.

With the drought now posing health and safety concerns for families who rely on well water and businesses that need ground water resources, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is expediting applications for C-57 Well Drilling contractors.

CSLB also encourages “A” General Engineering contractors that are authorized to perform water supply projects (but not well drilling unless they possess a C-57 Well Drilling classification) to add the C-57 classification to their license.

CSLB has a reciprocity agreement in place for well drillers who are licensed in Nevada, which will further expedite the California licensing process.

Anyone currently performing well drilling services in California must be state-licensed; CSLB encourages unlicensed individuals to complete their CSLB application process and become properly licensed. The California Employment Training Panel (CETP) funds job training for “emergency needs related to drinking water” in eligible counties. Employers interested in accessing this fund to train and hire additional employees under the new pilot program are encouraged to visit the CETP website,

CSLB and partner agencies – the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (, California Air Resources Board (, Department of Water Resources (, and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research ( – are identifying potential bottlenecks that might slow the regulatory processes enabling well drillers to perform their trade, or for out-of-state well drillers to assist during California’s drought.

ARB has identified an existing process to allow drilling rigs that do not meet current air standards to operate in the state for emergency operations; the ARB fact sheet, “Emergency Operation of One- and Two-Engine Water-Well Drilling Rigs During the Drought State of Emergency,”explains air quality standards during a state emergency.

Drillers who are out of compliance with licensing or other regulatory violations can be reported to CSLB using its Consumer Complaint form.


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